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News Releases
DEA issues warning over counterfeit prescription pills from Mexico - 11/04/19

The Drug Enforcement Administration is alerting the public of dangerous counterfeit pills killing Americans. Mexican drug cartels are manufacturing mass quantities of counterfeit prescription pills containing fentanyl, a dangerous synthetic opioid that is lethal in minute doses, for distribution throughout North America. 

“Illicit fentanyl distribution has made drug use more life threatening than ever in the Pacific Northwest,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis. “Alarmingly, this year we have seized more than 16 kilograms of fentanyl, which equates to more than 8 million dosage units."

Based on a sampling of tablets seized nationwide between January and March 2019, DEA found that 27 percent contained potentially lethal doses of fentanyl.

“Capitalizing on the opioid epidemic and prescription drug abuse in the United States, drug trafficking organizations are now sending counterfeit pills made with fentanyl in bulk to the United States for distribution,” said DEA Acting Administrator Uttam Dhillon. “Counterfeit pills that contain fentanyl and fentanyl-laced heroin are responsible for thousands of opioid-related deaths in the United States each year.”

Fentanyl and other highly potent synthetic opioids remain the primary driver behind the ongoing opioid crisis, with fentanyl involved in more deaths than any other illicit drug.  

A lethal dose of fentanyl is estimated to be about two milligrams, but can vary based on an individual’s body size, tolerance, amount of previous usage and other factors. The full Fentanyl Signature Profiling Program Report on the recent drug sampling and testing is available here:

DEA Take Back Day - Third Highest Collection for the Pacific Northwest - 11/04/19

Americans nationwide have once again shown their strong support for DEA’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day by dropping off nearly 883,000 pounds of medications during the October 2019 Take Back event. 

DEA, along with its law enforcement partners, has now collected nearly 12.7 million pounds of expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications since the inception of National Prescription Drug Take Back Initiative in 2010. On Oct. 26, the public turned in 882,919 pounds - almost 442 tons of medication to DEA and 4,896 of its community partners at 6,174 collection sites nationwide, including 135 Bureau of Indian Affairs sites. Since 2017, under this Administration, DEA has collected 5.5 million pounds of medications. 

Residents of Washington, Idaho, Oregon and Alaska turned in 36,981 pounds (18.5 tons) of prescription medications on October 26, 2019.  This is the third highest collection to date for the Pacific Northwest.  The following are the results broken down by state:

Washington - 105 collection sites which resulted in 15,623 pounds (7.8 tons)  removed from circulation. 

Idaho - 39 collection sites which resulted in 5,402 pounds (2.7 tons) removed from  circulation. 

Oregon - 54 collection sites which resulted in 11,609 pounds (5.8 tons) removed  from circulation. 

Alaska - 20 collection sites which resulted in 4,346 pounds (2.2 tons) removed from  circulation. 

Beginning with October’s campaign, DEA accepted vaping devices and cartridges in addition to medications at all of its drop-off locations. With hundreds of confirmed lung injuries and dozens of deaths attributed to vaping use, DEA is working diligently in our communities and through our outreach efforts to spread the word about the dangers of vaping. 

The public has embraced Take Back Day events because they provide easy, no-cost opportunities to remove medicines languishing in the home that are highly susceptible to misuse, abuse, and theft.  Public demand for safe and secure drug disposal has also resulted in a significant increase in year-round drug drop off boxes at law enforcement facilities, pharmacies, and elsewhere, making drug disposal even more convenient. 

Complete results for DEA’s spring Take Back Day are available at

DEA’s next National Prescription Drug Take Back is April 25, 2020. 

It's Game Time - DEA National Prescription Take Back Day This Saturday - 10/23/19

SEATTLE – With robust public participation over the course of 17 prior events, the National Prescription Drug Take Back Day Initiative continues to remove ever-higher amounts of opioids and other medicines from the nation’s homes, where they are vulnerable to misuse, theft or abuse by family members and visitors, including children and teens.

s://3">On Saturday, October 26, in continuation of this effort, DEA and its national, tribal and community partners will hold the 18th National Prescription Drug Take Back Day across the country. The service is free and anonymous.

The Pacific Northwest has an all-time record with 215 collection sites currently registered.  Last April, residents of Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska turned in 37,926 pounds (19 tons) of prescription medications.  This is the second highest collection to date for the Pacific Northwest and record collections for Idaho and Alaska. 

For the first time, DEA will now accept vaping devices and cartridges at any of its drop off locations during National Prescription Drug Take Back Day. It is important to note that DEA cannot accept devices containing lithium ion batteries. If batteries cannot be removed prior to drop-off, DEA encourages individuals to consult with stores that recycle lithium ion batteries.  

Concerns have been raised across the United States over illnesses and death caused by vaping and the high youth vaping initiation rates. In an effort to support a healthy lifestyle and energetic population, especially amongst America’s youth, DEA is committed to doing all it can to help safely dispose of vaping devices and substances. 

“It’s game time,” said DEA Special Agent in Charge Keith Weis.  “I encourage all of our communities to continue the outstanding participation in this important initiative to help save lives by removing potentially dangerous narcotics from falling into the wrong hands.”

Now in its tenth year, DEA has collected a total of more than 11 million pounds (almost 6,000 tons) of expired, unused and unwanted prescription medications through its Take Back Day events. DEA is continuing to register law enforcement partners and collection sites for the upcoming Take Back Day. As of Oct. 15, more than 4,500 registered law enforcement partners will assist with more than 5,250 registered sites and 135 tribal locations across the country, with more being added each day Collection sites will be open s://8">from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. local time. The public can find a nearby collection site at or by calling 800-882-9539.

National Take Back Day has received enthusiastic public support since its inception in 2010. Last April, the public turned in 469 tons (937,443pounds) of prescription drugs at more than 6,258 sites operated by the DEA and its 4,969 local and tribal partners. 

For more information about the harms of youth vaping, please visit: